How and Why to Show Hedgehogs Some Springtime Love

Posted by 3 years ago | Permalink | Comments (16)

Spring is in the air, which means that all over the country, hedgehogs may be starting to blink in the sunlight and wake up from their winter hibernation.

You probably don’t need much persuasion to let these adorable nocturnal animals into your heart. But to give you some extra motivation to love them, here are five of our favourite things about them – and five pieces of advice about how to help them out.

Five Reasons to Love Hedgehogs

  1. Hedgehogs are unique. They’re the only UK mammal with spines: each hedgehog has about 5,000 of them, which can grow up to 2.5-cm long.
  2. Hedgehogs are sleepyheads. They’re one of only three animals that hibernate in Britain (along with the bat and the dormouse), and during their winter snooze, their heartbeat drops dramatically from 190 to just 20 beats per minute.
  3. Hedgehogs are more agile than they look. They can travel up to 4 km in one night and have even been known to scale walls and climb the branches of small trees.
  4. Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets. They’re born with soft spines under the skin to protect their mothers. A second set of spines emerges after a few days.
  5. Hedgehogs need our help! Their numbers have dropped by at least a quarter in the UK in the last decade because of factors such as loss of habitat, increased pesticide use and tidier gardens.

Mick E. Talbot / CC BY 2.0

Five Ways to Show Hedgehogs That You Care

  1. Never feed hedgehogs milk! Most hedgehogs are dangerously lactose intolerant, so a saucer of milk is likely to make them ill (as well as involving cruelty to cows). They are, however, partial to snacks such as chopped peanuts and muesli.
  2. Avoid a tragic accident in your garden by checking long grass before you cut it in order to make sure that no hedgehogs are hiding there. In the autumn, watch out for hedgehogs in piles of dry leaves before starting a bonfire.
  3. Spotted a hedgehog? Tell the 2013 Hibernation Survey about it. The information will be used to find better ways to protect hedgehogs.
  4. Turn your garden into a hedgehog haven. Make small holes in the bottom of your fences or walls to allow them to pass through, leave a messy area where they can nest and don’t use poisonous slug pellets.
  5. If you find a sick or injured hedgehog staggering around during the day, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801. But as with all wild animals, it’s best to leave healthy hedgehogs to their own devices.


  • Louise Spartali commented on March 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    This is a great article, but its important to mention that if you have a pond in your garden you need to place ramps going out of the water to ensure a hedgehog doesnt fall in and is then unable to get out, therefore drowning.

    Ive seen and heard of this happening many many times, so please place something in your pond so they can get out :)


    • Robert W commented on May 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Same with cattle grids. We had a whole family of hedgehogs stuck in the bottom. Fortunately I saw them and made a ramp for them to escape

  • Brien Comerford commented on March 19, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Hedgehogs are wondrous and enchanting creatures of God. I want to commend Brian May of Queen for all the good work he has done to save Hedgehogs from being culled in various parts of the UK. Brian loves all animals including dynamic hedgehogs. He was a great choice for PETA Uk person of the year.

    • tink commented on May 10, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      They cull hedgehogs in the UK?

    • James McBurnie commented on May 12, 2014 at 3:31 am

      Aren’t you getting mixed up with Badgers?

  • madison commented on April 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    please remember that hogs are meat eaters so just sunflower seeds and muesli are not enough!!

    • Karen commented on April 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      our Spike loves dried mealworms, we found him eating the ones we’d put down for our Blackbirds, we now put our Spike his own mealworms and ‘Spikes Biscuits’ out in the house we bought for him :-)

  • Claire Keir commented on April 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I have 4 feeding stations in my garden, It is very wild garden for animals. I feed my hedgehogs on spikes hedgehog food, They have been out feeding over the winter so I feed them all year round. Now I am having to fill up the bowls every night, And water of course.

  • karen haddon commented on May 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    i am going to put some food in my garden to try and encourage hedgehogs becacuse i think they are wonderful little critters

  • William James commented on May 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Last year I had two very small hedgehogs visiting, within a week of each other, and I took them to a sanctuary.
    I live in Cumbria, where the winters can be cold and some years ago I found a poor hedgehog, that had frozen to death, on my lawn. So, if I find a small hedgehog still out in late November it’s ‘better safe than sorry’ and I take them to the sanctuary.
    I have been feeding a new one for nearly a month.

  • valerie redfern commented on May 10, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    is the elephant ok you had permission to put in a (in India)

  • sue pacey commented on May 10, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    i am feeding hedgehogs they come every night i am giving them cat food

  • Krystyna commented on May 11, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Will be nice if we can put our photo of this sweet animals
    I have very nice photo done in my garden in Warsaw

  • Karen Hart commented on May 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I have one that comes on my garden.each night .n if i left rubbish tbey make a mess bless .ive fed alternative days .but am worried as i have two cats but they dont go out at night but csn my cats get disease from hedgehogs

  • Althea Cubitt commented on May 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I have 2 feeding stations in the garden.
    I have counted 6 visiting hedgehogs on one night.
    I put out dry and tinned cat food ( never fish ) , mealworms and occasionally grated cheese every night.
    2 sleep in our hedgehog home and others just visit.
    This is now our third year with resident hedgehogs in the garden

  • Anita franks commented on May 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    We had a hedge gog in our garden in turkey he was beautiful my first experience of seeing a hedgehog x

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